Just a taaaad bit early, I hope you can forgive me for sharing my jolly St. Nick cookies with you in early November!
plan hope to be sharing my Christmas sweets with you weekly and have had this Santa cutter for a few years so was excited to finally decorate these.
The idea to make a peppermint sugar cookie dough came as I was decorating these, which is why the decorated cookies pictured in this post are actually regular sugar cookies (You can find that recipe here), but I’ve shared the peppermint cookie recipe (and a few pics) below.
You can find the Santa cookie cutter, a custom cutter based on this Pier One gift bag, in How Sweet is That?’s shop here. How Sweet is That? is offering a 20% discount with code SWEETOPIA. Thanks Sherry!
The decorating technique for this set of cookies is fairly straightforward, so I’ll share my basic tips in case you’re new to decorating, otherwise please feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below.
Find the cookie cutters I used here by clicking on each individual cutter below (Any links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links):
Santa Cookie Cutter (How Sweet is That? is offering a 20% discount with code SWEETOPIA).
Royal Icing Consistency
The consistency of icing is key for easy decorating. Click here to see a YouTube video on finding the right icing thickness for basic flooding and decorating. Here is a link to the royal icing recipe as well.
What you’ll need (these are affiliate links):
- Piping Tips – PME #1.5, PME #2 and PME #3 , PME #43
- Piping Bags
- Gel paste colors
- Scribe Tool or Toothpicks
- Sanding Sugar
- Line Stencil from Stencibelle
It may seem strange to be sharing holiday cookies this early, but the beautiful thing about cookies, is that they freeze really well. If you’d like to start baking and decorating early, click on the links to find posts on freezing cookies, thawing cookies and the shelf life of cookies.
Candy Cane Sugar Cookie Recipe Notes
A few notes about the recipe:
I used candy cane sticks and crushed them in a food processor (more on that below), but you can use any kind of candy cane or peppermint flavour. For an added peppermint kick, add 1 teaspoon (or more, depending on your taste) of peppermint extract to the recipe instead of the vanilla extract.
If you don’t have a food processor, place your candy canes in a ziplock bag, wrap the bag with tea towels and crush with a rolling pin. I’ve done this in the past and it works, but requires a little more effort on your part, and can be messy if the ziplock bag breaks.
To crush in the food processor, just place your candy in and pulse until you’re happy with the size of the pieces. The smaller you go, the more candy powder there will be, which will turn your dough a bit pink. I did add a tiny bit of icing sugar which seemed to help the candy not stick together.
The large pieces of candy, once baked, melt and leave little craters, so when the cookies came out of the oven, I took a paring knife and cut around each cookie, to clean up the edges.
Candy Cane Cut Out Cookie Recipe
- 2 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup crushed candy cane
- Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed. (Use the paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated - for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more. Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough. If you'd like a light and fluffy cookie, that's ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you'd like the cookie to hold its shape.
- Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again. Add vanilla extract. Stir briefly.
- Sift your dry ingredients together. (Flour and salt). Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Place a large tea towel between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won't escape. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it starts to come together add the crushed candy cane and mix until the dough clumps around the paddle attachment. The dough should peel away from the sides of the mixer and clump around the paddle attachment. You can also test the dough by pinching it between your thumb and index finger. If it’s soft but not sticky, it’s just right. If it’s too sticky when you pinch it between your fingers, add flour, ¼ cup at a time, and mix until you’re happy with the texture. There are various reasons why a dough can be too dry or too sticky, ranging from humidity in the environment, to what kind of flour you use, the fat content of the butter etc., however, there are ways to fix the issues if you run into them. Already mentioned, add flour if your dough is too sticky, and if it’s too dry, make sure you’ve mixed it as best as you can first, and if it’s still too dry, add a little water or milk until your dough comes together.
- Add your candy cane bits and mix until just incorporated. The longer you mix the pinker the dough will get, so mix until you like the color. (Again, mixing the dough too long can cause more spreading when cookies are baked though).
- Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge or freezer for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Re-roll scraps and repeat. If your dough gets too soft to work with, place in the fridge or freezer periodically to firm up again.
- Once all cut out, put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again. They will then hold their shape better when baked.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
- Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown. The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
- Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate if you like! If you’re new to decorating cookies, here is a cookie decorating tutorial with everything you’ll need to know to begin!
Butter - The butter needs to be soft, or room temperature. I leave mine out the night before I do my baking. If you forget, you can grate the butter on the largest hole of your box grater, so that the sugar and butter will mix together better or put the butter on a plate in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds to soften it. It should be soft to the touch, but not so soft it’s turning to liquid.
Please feel free to ask any questions below and thanks for visiting me here!
Happy baking and decorating!